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Today I welcome a guest post from Jill Chivers. Jill runs a program and award winning website called My Year Without Clothes Shopping which she invited me to be a guest contributor for, writing the lessons on colour and style. Jill’s own year-long challenge, her year without clothes shopping, finishes on Wednesday December 15 2010. Here is her post.
5 Tips for Surviving Holiday Shopping
I’ve learned a lot about shopping from having a year without doing it. I should probably say up front that I have loved shopping and over the course of my year without clothes shopping, I’ve also come to enjoy shopping with girlfriends and family. The reasons I took a year without clothes shopping were many, but in short, I had come to realise that my relationship to shopping wasn’t healthy, and I wanted to change the way I approached shopping.
Now we’re coming into the holiday crush and many people’s thoughts are turning to shopping. Shopping for Christmas gifts, shopping for special holiday food, shopping for one’s self as a treat. I don’t know about you, but there are certain shopping centres that I actively avoid from about December 10 onward – they are madhouses! If you found shopping confusing or over-stimulating before, then in the lead up to the end of the year and in the week leading up to the New Year, they are even worse!
So here are my tips for surviving shopping mayhem this year.
1. Be prepared. Yes, girl scouts, this oldie but goodie is one worth applying to shopping. Don’t go out of the house, headed towards the shops without a clear plan of where you’re going and what you’re getting. Write a list. Use that list. Even if you aren’t a list-writer or use one at any other time of the year. This may take some time to create, your list – but consider it a wise investment – the time you spend creating the list will pay off in spades when you’re in the shopping centre. And remember: lists are like maps – they can help you stay on track and avoid pitfalls. If there is any time of year when pitfalls abound, it’s now. So do yourself a favour and create your map and take it with you!
2. Be in a resourceful state. What this refers to is how you’re feeling, mentally, emotionally and physically. Do not go shopping when you are tired, fractious, hungry, upset, angry or frustrated. It will only get worse once you are in the shopping mall. Make sure you are feeling buoyant, well-rested, energetic, well fed and watered, and calm.
3. Be focused. Keep your map – your list – in your hand and go to only those places that you said you would. Don’t meander into this shop or drift into that shop. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by spruikers selling their wares at seemingly massive discounts, or enticing window or table displays. Keep your focus laser sharp.
4. Be aware. Shopping centres are deliberately designed to keep you in them for as long as possible. The way they are designed, lighted and air conditioned is all part of a deliberate strategy to have you lose your sense of time (and sometimes, direction). Keep your awareness turned to “high” as you shop, by tuning into your surroundings and noticing them. It’s easy to become in a slightly anaesthetised state in a large enclosed shopping centre (after all, the design of these malls has been scientifically tested, proven and duplicated for many decades) – so offset that by being aware of where you are.
5. Be timely. Set yourself a timeframe by which you will be finished shopping, and heading out the door. You want to put some flex into this timeframe, because the car park and the mall may be more congested than usual, making it harder to manoeuvre around. But it will be possible to give yourself a broad timeframe that you can stick to. If you say it’s 2 hours, then after that time, do a quick review of your map (your list) and see if you have done enough for today’s session, and start moving toward the exit.
Shopping at holiday times can be a stimulating pastime. It can also lead to blow-outs in your budget and the feeling of time slipping through your fingers. Use these strategies to shop consciously and reduce the consumption commotion this holiday period.
Check out Jill’s program (and consider joining it – you’ll see me there in Month 5!) by visiting www.shopyourwardrobe.com